Michael Saylor and the Bitcoin religion

Michael Saylor is a man who once dreamed of conquering the skies; but now finds himself following stars of a different kind.

Born in the heartland of Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1965, Saylor's formative years were spent bouncing from one Air Force base to another, tracing the trajectory of his father's military career. It was a nomadic life that bore witness to his intrinsic ability to adapt and seize opportunities. An aptitude that would later define his entrepreneurial journey.

His ambitions to become a pilot were grounded by a medical condition. But every cloud has a silver lining, or so the saying goes. Saylor found his silver lining in the labyrinthine world of technology, where he could fly and soar. In 1987, Saylor took up a job at a consulting firm, The Federal Group, Inc., where he delved into the complex art of computer simulation modeling. He was no longer a footloose child of the Air Force; he was becoming a pilot of the digital age.

Some partnerships are written in the stars in the annals of business history. So it was with Saylor and Sanju Bansal, his college fraternity brother from MIT. Their meeting was a collision of minds that would birth a technology giant. MicroStrategy, the brainchild of Saylor and Bansal, began its journey as a data mining software firm. A $10 million contract with McDonald's in 1992 to analyze the efficiency of its promotions led Saylor to an epiphany. The data wasn't just numbers and stats; it was a gold mine of insights waiting to be excavated.

Saylor was not just a businessman; he was a visionary. MicroStrategy's journey to the public market in 1998 was the stuff of Wall Street dreams. The initial stock offering was a resounding success. But success in the financial world is a fickle friend. In 2000, the SEC came knocking at Saylor's door, accusing him and two other MicroStrategy executives of misrepresenting financial results. Saylor would weather this storm, but the once shining star had been tarnished.

In 2020, as the world grappled with a pandemic, Saylor found himself at the center of another controversy. His refusal to close MicroStrategy's offices and criticism of social distancing measures drew public ire. But amidst the tumult, Saylor was brewing a new strategy that would place him at the epicenter of a financial revolution.

Bitcoin, the enigmatic cryptocurrency, became Saylor's new obsession. In an audacious move, MicroStrategy invested $250 million from its cash reserves to purchase Bitcoin in August 2020. It was a gamble that drew criticism and applause in equal measure. But Saylor was undeterred. Under his stewardship, MicroStrategy's Bitcoin holdings have swelled to over $1 billion.

Saylor's personal commitment to Bitcoin is equally impressive. As of October 2021, he held 17,732 bitcoins, purchased at an average price of $9,882. And yet, in a twist that could only befit a man of Saylor's ilk, he resigned as CEO of MicroStrategy in August 2022, only to remain executive chairman.

As 2023 dawns, Saylor stands at the crossroads of controversy and success, a beacon for the Bitcoin faithful. With the District of Columbia accusing him of tax fraud, the prophet is again under scrutiny. Saylor's journey from a wandering child of the Air Force to a titan of the tech world is a testament to his resilience.

In the pantheon of crypto-evangelists, Michael Saylor stands as a modern-day Moses, leading his followers toward the promised land of Bitcoin. Where Moses had the word of God, the burning bush, and the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments to guide him, Saylor has a far less divine compass. His guiding light is not divine revelation but a nine-page white paper published in 2008 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, the still-unidentified creator of Bitcoin.

This white paper, "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System," and a few old forum posts are the tablets on which Saylor's commandments are written. They are his burning bush, his holy text. It's a far cry from the divine revelations of old, but they're as sacred as scriptures in the world of cryptocurrency.

Saylor's faith in this new creed is unshakeable. The Bitcoin white paper's vision of a decentralized peer-to-peer payment system, free from the control of governments and banks, is his gospel. It's a doctrine that has inspired and divided the tech and financial worlds. To some, it's a utopian dream of financial freedom and equality. To others, it's a dangerous fantasy, a ticket to anarchy and economic chaos.

Saylor is undeterred by the skeptics. He doesn't see the promise of Bitcoin so much as its inevitability. He's not an investor in Bitcoin; he's a disciple. His company, MicroStrategy, is not a business intelligence firm; it's become a vehicle for his Bitcoin evangelism, a Church like any other. His recent purchase of another 6,455 Bitcoin, worth $150 million, only strengthens his commitment to the digital currency. He remains bullish on Bitcoin, predicting a rise of over 900% now that the public is beginning to appreciate its uniqueness.

His faith, however, has not come without trials. The District of Columbia's lawsuit accusing him of tax fraud looms large. Despite a judge denying Saylor's motion to dismiss the case, the threat of a more than $100 million penalty hangs over him and MicroStrategy.

Viewed without cynicism, the story of Michael Saylor is one of faith and determination,. In the grand theater of the financial world, he has carved a niche for himself as the apostle in search of a messiah. But I am reminded of Steven Weinberg’s words: "Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."

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